Nano-imaging enabled via self-assembly

Euan McLeod, Aydogan Ozcan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Summary Imaging object details with length scales below approximately 200 nm has been historically difficult for conventional microscope objective lenses because of their inability to resolve features smaller than one-half the optical wavelength. Here we review some of the recent approaches to surpass this limit by harnessing self-assembly as a fabrication mechanism. Self-assembly can be used to form individual nano- and micro-lenses, as well as to form extended arrays of such lenses. These lenses have been shown to enable imaging with resolutions as small as 50 nm half-pitch using visible light, which is well below the Abbe diffraction limit. Furthermore, self-assembled nano-lenses can be used to boost contrast and signal levels from small nano-particles, enabling them to be detected relative to background noise. Finally, alternative nano-imaging applications of self-assembly are discussed, including three-dimensional imaging, enhanced coupling from light-emitting diodes, and the fabrication of contrast agents such as quantum dots and nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-573
Number of pages14
JournalNano Today
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 16 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Micro-lenses
  • Nano-imaging
  • Nano-lenses
  • Self-assembly
  • Super-resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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